Sunday, June 25, 2006

Donna Karan, Charla Lawhon & InStyle Present: Super Saturday 9 to benefit The OCRF

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing reasearch, raising awareness, and finding a cure for ovarian cancer.

Each year, OCRF organizes a huge designer garage sale in the Hamptons where 240+ fashion designers sell their wares at up to 50% off retail price and DONATE ALL OF THE PROCEEDS to OCRF. This event has contributed millions of dollars over the past 9 years and has funded grants to more than 89 scientists at 41 leading medical centers across the country.

Below are some of the paper doll illustrations I made for this year's Super Saturday benefit invitation:


TWEEN (love this word)


A little guy

Smart Fitzjerrell

I’ve been working with Mary Kathryn Wells for the past few months developing a brand for her debut fashion collection, Smart Fitzjerrell. This project has been a dream for me- there was inspiration everywhere: the unique mix of pattern and color, the cuts of the clothing and most of all Mary Kathryn's sense of style and humor.

Evolving the brand came naturally, beginning with custom type, patterning and illustration then gaining speed once we refined the logo. Over the last two weeks we have produced both the photoshoot and 12 limited edition lookbooks that will be used to enter new designer showcases, allure buyers and prepare for the first season of this exceptional line.

Fold-out cover of lookbook

Inside cover of lookbook

Business card doubles as hangtag!

Antonio Carusone shot the stunning mini-campaign (more to come in the fall) for Smart Fitzjerrell, working with Mary Kathryn as producer director and stylist, Moi as art director, the lovely Tara McCall modelling, Danielle Devine painting faces and our own Fiona Clark assisting on tambourine (a.k.a. light meter). Below are a few of my favorite selects from the shoot:

I will post more as we evolve the design for Smart Fitzjerrell’s Spring/Summer 2007 launch!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Get Schooled by the Intern: Tschichold

Jan Tschichold and Die Neue Typographie
By Fiona Clark

You know that loveable Penguin Book Company? This dude I researched (Jan Tschichold) redesigned the Penguin Book typefaces and layouts around what he called the “Penguin Composition Rules”. The most important rule being to stick to the grid he developed for the Company. He could change font and composition depending on the content, but he had set margins and type areas.

This was a later project for him though. Tschichold was born in Germany and began learning calligraphy at an early age through his parents. He later studied calligraphy and type at the Leipzig Academy for Graphic Arts and Book Trade. His early thinking revolved around the idea of communicative clarity. After he visited his first Bauhaus exhibition in 1923, he published the book “Die Neue Typographie” (The New Typography) to establish rules about type setting. Some of these rules were: san serif fonts are the most basic/clear, non-centered design is most appealing, functional requirements shape type, layout is communication thus communication must appear in its simplest form and serve social ends (meaning: have ordered content but properly relate it to others).

Casanova movie poster, 1927

He created several manuals stemming from the ideas of Die Neue Typographie, but abandoned his rigid beliefs in 1932 and moved back to classicism. At which point, he agreed that asymmetrical and symmetrical both create successful compositions. There is speculation that he changed his beliefs after his escape from Germany during Hitler’s rule because of the Gestapo’s capture of all his books/posters.

Laster der Menschhiet, 1926

Another little tid-bit I enjoyed about him was how he advocated for photography being a part of design in both content and composition. He often created cinema posters (usually lithographed 2 colour) with diagonal hand drawn lettering and small circular images. A good example I found of his integration of photography with content was “Laster der Menschhiet” (Man’s Depravity). The image appears as if it is being projected from the lower left and is framed by lines that represent a cinema screen. The placement of the type agrees with the projected theme and gives another level of depth. His knowledge of printing processes aided him using certain techniques (i.e. overprinting) to create depth.

Overall, I don’t agree with some of his Modernist beliefs, but the idea of design being used properly to convey information is solid.

You can find fonts he developed at: or

“Graphic Design. A Concise History” by Richard Hollis
“Graphic Style: Front Victorian to Digital” by Steven Heller & Seymour Chwast

(Also check out - ed.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dear California,

I miss you, but hopefully I’ll see you in August.


Business Tip #1: A Rant by Emily Lakin

To increase your revenue, you must diversify your audience. The more people you get interested in your product, the better your business will do.

However you look at it, art is a business. The artist producing a painting on commission, the freelancer designing a website, the museum offering special benefits for new members- all are selling something.

But is art always a product? What about the value of the creative process to express emotions, political commentary or the development of skills? Does the intrinsic value of art get lost when it's tied to money and business? Or, does the exposure of people who would not normally visit a gallery or museum expand artistic reach beyond what traditional methods can ever do?

Four years ago I moved to San Francisco and started working at a new kind of art space. 111 Minna Gallery is a bar, event space, and art gallery in over 4,200 square feet. It has 2 full bars, 16 foot walls, and a convenient downtown location. Each month they produce an art show, which stays up day and night, during all events from happy hour to Microcinema . During the 10 years it has been open, the space has developed a reputation for quality, affordable work, leaning towards the "street art" tendencies of the Mission School.

So here I am. The crowd varies from hipsters drooling over Doze Green's work (myself included), to over-powdered (in more ways than one) young professionals leaving their drinks- and ring marks- on Albert Dicruttalo's sculptures. Obviously, sometimes booze appreciation overpowers art appreciation, and vice versa. But I loved it. I still do. I meet all sorts of people and talk to them about their work, their influences, the last great movie they is a way of making a connection in a world where internet friends become part of your social circle.

But the point here is that art has become cool. You can go somewhere to admire it over a glass of wine, and even purchase it for under $500. And by owning or appropriating it (Can't afford an original? Buy a t-shirt!), you get to have some of that cool too. It's a win-win situation. The artist can make some money- minus the gallery cut, of course- and potentially gain recognition that will lead to more shows, freelance work, a network of peers, maybe even an entree into a museum or other cultural institution. You get the piece, which hopefully looks great on your walls, and the feeling that you have done well by being an arts patron. So you're not a Medici, but still...a friday night out with friends becomes a cultural experience. The product is cultural capital and personally, if you're going to be a "heartless capitalist" I think this is the way to go.

Places like Varnish Fine Art , The Canvas Gallery, BOCA , and Club Six have all got in on the act. The art business is surviving in the face of cuts in institutional funding . But art bars often focus on art and artists that are hip and who will sell- challenging the status quo isn't always a factor. Are those artists being left out?

The underlying question here is: Are places like this undermining art appreciation or diversifying the audience for the arts world?

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Rant by Emily Lakin

Beginning tomorrow, Emily Lakin, longtime friend and fellow lover of art will be contributing “A Rant” for Faust Haus as a supplement to her new blog, Blog and Be Recognized (link to come).

Emily's rants will feature her educated and opinionated commentary on artists, scene, art shows and non-profits in San Francisco and beyond.

Here is a 10-year-old example of why Emily and I are friends:

Em graduated from Smith College in ‘02 (“A Century of Women on Top” wink wink nudge nudge) with an Anthropology major and Archaeology minor. Her natural curiosity and love of travel connects her to a diverse group of artists and thinkers around the world. She is currently working a 9-5 at the Nonprofit Finance Fund and dreaming of a more flexible and creative job. (HIRE HER!) Emily Lakin lives in San Francisco, CA.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Even if you’re not into the music...

While I am not a huge listener, I can appreciate Christina Aguilera ‘cause girl can sing. This photoshoot with Christina and Etta James caught my eye…Imagine hanging out with one of your idols, having a blast and doing what you love most. These photos capture a really cool moment. Bellisimo!

P.S. Thanks Oh No They Didn’t!
P.P.S. I will post the photographer’s name if I can ever find it…
P.P.P.S. Yes, I really do read Oh No They Didn’t.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Get Schooled by the Intern: Psychedelic!

Wes Wilson & Psychedelic Art
By Fiona Clark

Concert flyer by Wes Wilson 1967, from 60s Design by Philippe Garner

My first thought when I looked at the promotional graphics for the concert venues of the 1960’s was, “I feel like I’m trippin’ balls.” The drug inspired colour palette is what catches the viewers attention, but there is much more appeal than just that.

The style itself came about through sub-cultures of different cities such as London and San Francisco. Music, drugs, art, literature and hippie activities were the drive behind psychedelic art, which became an interesting fusion of fine art and commercial art technique. Many of the artists used silk screening, lithography, radiograph for hand lettering and split-fountain color technique for low cost printing. Visually there is a strong connection to Art Nouveau style and traces of the other 1960’s style “Op”, which developed out of “Pop”.

Wes Wilson was a leading designer in the Psychedelic movement in San Francisco, creating concert posters mainly for two venues: Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium. He got into the business through a friend, Bob Carr, who managed a printing shop and offered Wilson his first acid trip. Together they opened their own printing company in 1964 called “Contact Printing Company” and I suppose the rest is history.

Personally, I think it’s nice that the artists behind the psychedelic art age took the drugs for us so we could appreciate the visual beauty while maintaining our sobriety.

The imagery throughout many of his posters involves the female form and the flowing curves of the body/hair (hint at Art Nouveau, thank you very much). These forms were made even more intense by the variations in line-work and extreme colours. The hand made type could almost blend into the image itself because it pushes the limits of legibility.

Conclusion: these posters rock my socks off.

If you are super duper into it, check these other dudes out: Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, Peter Max, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cactus music

Brian and I saw Cactus” first performance in 30 years at B.B. King last week. We didn't know anything about the band until B heard them on the Radio Chick’s show so we checked out a few songs and grabbed tickets...good thing because they sold out!

Cactus is authentic rock n’ roll with roots in blues and serious musicianship. I was totally blown away by drumming God Carmine Appice, and not just because he sports a porn ‘stache (although it helps):

Plus Jim McCarty on black Les Paul standard, Tim Bogert bringing the sick bass and vocalist Jimmy Kunes whose voice was HUGE! Not too shabby for a bunch of dudes in their 50s and 60s (I am guessing here...real rock n’ rollers are ageless).

You'll have to hunt around for MP3s or come over and listen to our box set...but for the dirty rock lover, this band is an absolute must-have. Give ‘em a listen if you like Led Zeppelin, Mott The Hoople, Vanilla Fudge, Jethro Tull, Cream, James Gang…

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Meet the Intern

Fiona Clark will be hanging out in the shag room studio this summer making design, drawing, assisting on photoshoots, reading and researching (and possibly going head to head in burping competitions). Fiona is going into her fourth year at Hartford Art School as a Visual Communication Design major with photography and art history minors and is continuing her studies at Central Saint Martin’s in London this coming semester.

Beginning next thursday, Fiona will be writing a weekly blog assignment for Faust Haus called “Get Schooled by the Intern” where she will explore different eras and movements of graphic design history and report some hard facts and academic twist on hazing...